What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disorder affecting brain cells that produce dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter in regulating the movement of the body.

Many Parkinson's symptoms are caused by the reduction in dopamine causing problems like slow movement, stiffness and involuntary shaking (tremors).

Parkinson's disease is mostly affecting men than women and generally people over 60. In rare cases it can also occur in younger adults and worsen as a person ages.

Parkinson's symptoms

Early signs of Parkinson's

Symptoms for parkinsonian disorder were first reported in 1817 by James Parkinson, disease that was later to bear his name. They appear gradually and the affected person only gets worse over time.

The most obvious early and cardinal symptoms of Parkinson's disease are:
- involuntary rest tremor of various parts of the body,
- slow movement,
- postural instability,
- muscle rigidity.

The other physical and psychological symptoms include depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, constipation, balance and coordination deterioration, anosmia, cognitive issues and other mental or emotional problems.

Parkinson's diagnosis

One of the most well established scale to assess the disease is the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating scale (UPDRS).

Multiple studies using UPDRS to track the progression of Parkinson's disease suggest that the rate of deterioration is variable and it is mostly observed in the early phase of the disease, as well as in people with a postural instability and gait disorder.

According to the official NHS website for Parkinson's disease diagnosis - if after taking a medication called levodopa the symptoms improve, the person is more likely to already be affected by Parkinson's disease. You can read more about diagnosing Parkinson's disease from the NHS here.

What causes Parkinson's?

Parkinson's disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells and subsequently by the reduction of dopamine in the brain. As dopamine is responsible for movement regulation, its deficit results in many Parkinson's symptoms. This particular chemical messenger is also helping us think, plan, focus, find things interesting and it affects how we feel pleasure. 

Amongst the causes of parkinsonism might be:

  • adverse reaction to drugs
  • environmental toxins
  • stroke
  • head trauma
  • other brain conditions.

Parkinson's disease treatment

Sadly there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, only treatments being available to help reduce the main symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.

Treatments for Parkinson's disease include:

  • supportive therapies, i.e. physiotherapy;
  • medication;
  • and even brain surgery, if necessary.

Sometimes no treatment is required during the early stages of Parkinson's disease, as symptoms are usually mild. However, it is highly recommended to monitor the condition by setting regular appointments with a specialist.

Parkinson's disease care

Condition-led care

At Audley Care, we find a carer's assistance and regular communication being vital for our customers and their families. This is especially important when dealing with customers who have limiting conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

For families who are not able to visit regularly, we can provide daily phone or email updates that can be comforting for everyone. It is also possible - with consent - for family and friends to access our care logs to monitor customer wellbeing. We find this offers reassurance to families who live further away as they are able to review treatment notes and maintain frequent contact with our team.

 

Find the care branch nearest to you

Each Audley Care branch has a dedicated team of staff on-hand 24/7 to provide personalised, specialist home care within 15 miles

Get in touch for a confidential conversation today

We’re confident in the level of service we provide for every type of care needed, from medical specialist through to lifestyle care.

Our friendly team is available to answer your questions and provide guidance on the options available to you from Monday to Saturday, 9am through to 5.30pm via telephone on 0800 298 2212 or at info@audleycare.co.uk via email.